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More Households Eligible for Weatherization Assistance

Courtesy NECAC

Community action agencies are urging people to weatherize their homes as we move deeper into the cold weather months.

Brent Engel, Public Relations Officer for the North East Community Action Corporation (NECAC) in northeast Missouri, said weatherization can save homeowners a substantial amount of money.

“Weatherization is one of the best ways to cut your energy costs, especially in the winter,” he said.

He also said more people can now qualify for free weatherization assistance through community action agencies because the federal government increased the income guidelines. More details are available from those agencies, which include NECAC, Community Action of Southeast Iowa, and the Western Illinois Regional Council.

Engel said NECAC weatherized several hundred homes last year and saw energy savings of 25%-30% in those homes. “If your bill is $600 in the winter, that’s $150 or more that you can be saving. I don’t know about you, but I’d love to have 150 more bucks.”

Engel said the work includes everything from caulking to replacing a furnace. He believes weatherization is a way of reinvesting in the community by improving the housing stock.

“We know that a lot of homes in the tri states are older and so they need some additional work,” he said. “You’re taking tax dollars and returning them to our own communities to help our neighbors in need.”

He said NECAC conducts an energy audit on homes that qualify for the free weatherization program. “We seal up the home and then run a blower that identifies where the leaks are, if there are any. We also look at the insulation. We look at the furnace. We look at other parts of the home, (such as) the doors and the windows.”

Engel cautioned that those who qualify for the program in northeast Missouri will be put on a waiting list. “We (NECAC) have 300-400 clients on a waiting list right now, and we do 300-400 a year depending on what the job is. So you could be on the waiting list for up to a year. But we encourage you to go ahead and apply.”

NECAC held several home weatherization demonstrations during the final week of October, including one in Hannibal. Engel said NECAC did those demonstrations as part of National Weatherization Week.

Tri States Public Radio produced this story.  TSPR relies on financial support from our readers and listeners in order to provide coverage of the issues that matter to west central Illinois, southeast Iowa, and northeast Missouri. As someone who values the content created by TSPR's news department please consider making a financial contribution.

Rich is TSPR's News Director.